Has Windows 11 really lost marketshare to Windows 10?

Users continue to give Microsoft's latest and greatest a wide berth

According to market share figures from Statcounter, the gap between Windows 11 and Windows 10 usage is slightly growing, and not in a way we imagine Microsoft wants.

Windows 11's global desktop market share dipped between February 2024 and April 2024 from 28.16 percent to 25.65 percent, while Windows 10's share grew to 70.03 percent from 67.26 percent. Things were slightly closer a few months ago, but the gap has since widened. (We assume these Statcounter figures are legit; the outfit acknowledged on Friday there was a blip in its Google numbers.)

Over the past year, Microsoft has struggled to move the needle on Windows 11 adoption as Windows 10 users look at the flagship OS and its hardware requirements and think... nah.

Microsoft has not provided any official figures on Windows 11 usage compared to its predecessor - we've asked, and will update this article if Redmond provides some. However, it is not hard to imagine some distinctly sweaty palms at Microsoft as managers play a game of update chicken with the looming Windows 10 end-of-support date of October 14 next year.

Statcounter is a web analytics service, and its tracking code is installed on more than 1.5 million sites. While its figures are unlikely to be as accurate as those held within Microsoft's walls, they indicate how things are going. And they are clearly continuing to not go well in terms of operating system adoption.

With Microsoft showing no signs of backing down over the Windows 11 hardware requirements or of keeping Windows 10 supported for a little longer, the question is, what happens next?

The answer might be the dawn of the AI PC, during which customers decide it is worth buying new hardware to access all the machine-learning features that computer makers fervently hope will shortly be launched in a future Windows update.

However, businesses not caught up in the hype are also all too aware that buying an AI PC is a risky prospect right now. Analysts have warned that a killer AI app that needs exotic local hardware has yet to appear for the majority of users.

The tragedy of Windows 11 is that there is nothing particularly wrong with the operating system at a technical level, assuming you're OK with Microsoft's approach to software architecture and deployment. However, unless a user is a Windows enthusiast or there is a particular feature that you cannot do without, there is not much point in investing in new hardware to enjoy a slightly more nerfed Start Menu and roundier corners.

Users with the requisite hardware have probably already upgraded. Users happy with their existing installations have elected to hang fire, a decision reflected in Windows 11's inability to make much headway against its predecessor. ®

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